As per request from out outpost commander, here are some of the pics of costumes from the recent showing of Anike, a play by Malaysian playwright Wong Phui Nam, staged by Cape Poetics of Penang. The play was presented in KL at the Soka Gakkai Malaysia auditorium on Jan 20th & 21st and at Universiti Sains Malaysia's Dewan Budaya on Jan 25th & 26th, 2007.
The cast & crew of Anike, with playwright in the centre. This was taken in USM. This shot gives quite a clear view of all the costumes made for the play.
Two kings: the playwright conversing with the antagonist of the play, King Maniaka. His costume was also the most elaborate of the set.
My wife and I with the King... His costume consisted of a double-layered skirt, a body wrap, scale pauldrons, pectoral, armguards and an elaborate helmet. All were made from scratch using various household materials...
Sure thing, Master Plo... I'll put up more costumes and details as I sort out the pics... I'm still receiving new pics, by the way...
In a sense, the King's is the only armoured costume in the play, but characters like Anike, Yasmine and Prince Nadim have pectorals that are supposed to be partial armour. Most of the men have armoured armguards/bracers.
I have just received a message from Lord Wudious saying that he would like some details on Anike... Well, here goes:
Anike was set in a fictive kingdom in the 14th century. This Kingdom was supposed to be the successor to Temasek, located somewhere on the west coast of the Tanah Melayu.
When her brother Sirat was sentenced to death for apparent treason, Anike took it upon herself to cut down and bury her brother's dead body. The King had ordered Wira, his trusted warrior, to slay the traitor and hang his carcass by the heels outside the city gates. He also decreed that anyone who tried to cut the body down will be executed.
Anike, who was also engaged to the Prince, decided to go against the King's decree and attempted to cut the body down. She conspired with her younger sister Yasmine, but the younger, too afraid to act, chose instead to keep quiet. When Anike was captured by the palace guards, the King became enraged. He ordered the woman to be sealed alive in a deep cavern.
Despite warnings of ill news from a blind seer - Tok Seth - King Maniaka proceeded with his plans. Only later did he repent and ordered a detachment of men to free Anike from her tomb in the hills. Nonetheless, they were too late. Anike had already committed suicide. Prince Nadim, in anger and frustration, tried to run his father down with his keris, and failing this, turned the keris against himself.
When Maniaka returned with his son's body, he was greeted with yet another tragedy. His wife, the Queen, had also taken her own life, upon hearing that her son had died...
Basically, Anike is a wordy play and my short description of it does it no justice. One has to see the play in order to experience the anger, hate, frustration, anxiety and pain that the characters had to go through.
I was tasked, initially, as the costume designer for the first presentation of Anike at the Indian High Commission in KL last year. For the 2007 shows, I was asked to conceptualize and design the stage setting, with the guidance of the director, Himanshu Bhatt. Other than that, I also became the play's "cultural advisor", due to the fact that I am well-versed (of sorts) in Malay culture, and that I virtually created the culture that was portrayed through the costumes in Anike.
As promised, here are some of the major characters in Anike. I shall start with the lead character, after whom the play is named. Anike is sister to Sirat, and the protagonist of the story. After initially reading the script, I was under the impression that Anike was a helpless wench dreaming of glory by attempting the impossible: giving a descent burial for her dead brother Sirat.
So, I decided to "boost" Anike's rather pathetic character with a fiery red costume. In my view, Anike is supposed to be at least trained in martial arts, or even a female warrior! And thus, I came up with this design...
This is the production sketch of Anike's costume. Below are the actual pics of the costume, with the actor...
This one is Anike with Yasmine, her sister. Anike is on the right. Her costume comprises of a wrap-around top and a skirt. The 'armoured' pectoral and arm guards are there to provide a martial air. Her belt is actually sown to the skirt, and the buckle (pending) was fastened onto it. Note the "badik" (knife) at her waist. This was the designated weapon for a female warrior of old.
This one is Anike in her second contume, reminiscent of olden day "pahlawan" costume. This was designed to show her "martial prowess". I wanted to portray her as a warrior, not a damsel in distress... just for dramatics! Again, her belt is attached to her sampin (waistcloth) and the pending is attached to it.
This is her badik, made from polystyrene and then coated with tissue and painted with acrylics. There was no blade in the weapon. ;D
I shall return with Anike's sister, Yasmine in my next post.... ;D
Anike's sister, Yasmine was supposed to be a gentle, submissive young girl, who was torn between the duty to her dead brother and obedience to the King. Yasmine chose to obey the King's edict by not assisting her sister and keeping to herself whatever knowledge she has of Anike's plans. Yasmine was given a pale blue top and a two-toned blue skirt. Her shawl was made from a sheer violet fabric with golden vines embroidered into it. The colours served to give her a "cooler" predicament, not like that of her older sister, who was the embodiment of fire and rage. Her skirt has a similar pattern to Anike's, a slight gesture of their kinship.
As such, her outfit was also designed to be more lady-like, preserving her femininity while giving the character an air of class. This feature is further enhanced by her jewellery and accessories. Yasmine's top is a theatrical modification of the traditional wrap-around top that was popular in the Indochina region. A similar version was worn by women of the Indonesian archipelago, typically on the islands of Jawa and Bali. The skirt is essentially of wrap-around design popular among the peoples of South East Asia. In the olden days, this would have been a piece of loose batik or songket cloth, which was fastened about the waist by a belt and a "jewelled" pending (buckle). The pending is another indicator of class, and was only worn by royalty and the wealthy.
The pectoral is an addition to traditional dress, which did not exist in olden times. A similar article of clothing may be found in that of the Minagkabau women and those worn by the natives of Borneo. However, these were usually made from embroidered fabric or beads. Ancient Egypt was the true inspiration for this piece of attire. Pectorals were often worn by the Pharaoh and royalties as symbols of status. The pectoral was added it to provide the kingdom of Anike with a distinct, identifiable character that was not too alien to the style of dress that was being portrayed. This pectoral is also worn by Anike, and pectorals of different designs were allocated to Maniaka and Nadim. In the case of Maniaka, his pectoral was part of his armour.
Post by Senator_Vanyarin on Mar 11, 2007 11:00:17 GMT 8
Know this might me a tad late for a post...but just want to say I'm impressed! was costume designer for my uni's musical drama 'Mulan'...know exactly how much effort put in to make the characters come alive.Practically sweat & tears. Great job...very detailed..& creative use of cardboard for props & accessories.
The Phaaantom of the Opera is heeere......inside my mind...